4,999 and counting
Inside Blue Fri 22 Dec 2017
Our next match will be Chelsea's 5,000th in all competitions, but how did we get on in our previous millennial-game landmarks.
The next milestone will be reached when we travel to Goodison Park on Saturday to face Everton in our last game before Christmas, and by coincidence the Toffees were also our opponents when we played our 4,000th game.
On that occasion, on 11 March 2000, we were on home soil at Stamford Bridge, though. We went into the match keeping pace with Manchester United and Leeds United in what looked set to be a three-way title race, and things were looking good after half-an-hour when captain Dennis Wise opened the scoring (below).
It turned out to be one of three goals he scored in the space of a week, during a period of excellent form for the midfielder, also finding the net in Champions League second-group-stage victories over Marseille and Feyenoord, either side of this Premier League fixture. However, there was to be no win against Everton, as Danny Cadamarteri equalised from a long throw in the second half.
Game 3,000 came during a difficult period for the club at the start of the Eighties, as we travelled to Notts County in Division Two on 29 November 1980. As we edged towards the halfway point in the 1980/81 season, the Magpies were one of our main rivals for promotion, making for an edgy encounter.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 79th minute, but unfortunately it was the home team's Rachid Harkouk who found the net. Thankfully John Bumstead equalised just five minutes later (above) for Geoff Hurst's side, keeping us in second place in the table, even if we couldn't maintain our form and ended up finishing the campaign in 12th place.
Almost exactly 20 years earlier, we were again on the road for our 2,000th match, this time heading across the border into Wales to face Cardiff City on 10 December 1960. Things started badly as we went two goals down in the first 20 minutes, symptomatic of legendary Blues boss Ted Drake's team that season, which was high-scoring but far from watertight at the back.
However, one of the reasons our attack was so prolific during that campaign was the young Jimmy Greaves (above), playing in his last season for the Blues before departing to Italian side AC Milan. His second-half strike in this match may have ended up being merely a consolation in a 2-1 defeat, but it did contribute to his total of 41 league goals that season – still the most scored by any player in Chelsea's history.
The Blues, or the Pensioners, as we were known at the time, hit our first millennial landmark way back on 14 April 1932, and it was a notable occasion even without the milestone. It was only the second season since Newcastle United legend Hughie Gallacher (above) had left St James' Park, as he welcomed his old team-mates to Stamford Bridge.
The striker had never beaten or scored against his former club before this day, but both of those things were about to change dramatically as we raced into a four-goal lead in the first half-an-hour. Gallacher scored three of those goals, his first hat-trick for Chelsea, with the other from fellow Scottish international Alex Jackson on our way to a 4-1 victory.